Nighttime Eating

I believe I have already made a confession to you about this problem I have. Perhaps a few of you out there share this difficulty with me?

All day long, I am able to eat perfectly. I usually plan my meals, so I know in advance what I am going to eat and there is less chance of messing up. I try to plan meals that I actually enjoy because this helps a lot with feeling satisfied. I usually measure my protein allotment so that I am sure to get enough. All this is simple enough with my 3 basic meals. I almost never snack in between any meals because I just don't need to.

Then the problem begins.

It happens almost every evening. It happens when I turn on the television and plop my butt down on the couch. I'm sure it does not help that I am thoroughly addicted to the Food Network! I adore my food shows! But no matter what I am watching on TV, my mind is constantly drifting to food. More food. Food that I should not eat. Naughty food!

Many people have this "no bad foods" policy: there are no "bad" foods, only wrong amounts. But for me, I know if I put anything into my mouth that contains grains (bread, bagel, muffin, cookie, pasta, pastry, etc.) I will puff and bloat and weigh an extra pound or two the next day. I have no trouble avoiding this stuff all day long. But once I am done for the day, relaxing on the couch, here come the fantasies dancing in my head like sugarplums! Or croissants!

I have been allowing myself ONE Veggie Lite Chocolate Zucchini Muffin for my evening treat. These are sold frozen, at Costco, and contain 120 calories, zero wheat flour, and only 11 grams of sugar. They are SMALL! I eat my muffin with a little peanut butter, as this in another of my weaknesses! Then I try to be satisfied.

Last night, I followed my muffin with 2 large mugs of decaf green tea. Luckily, I totally love this stuff. A warm beverage is very filling and comforting, so if you are trying to convince your tummy that it is satisfied with one small muffin, I recommend a hot drink chaser. Maybe several.

My other suggestion for curbing nighttime eating is: do not stock your fridge and cabinets with snack foods that you can't resist. If it is not sitting there, waiting for you, you cannot eat it. If someone else in your home needs to have snacky foods, make sure they purchase "safe" foods which do not trigger your binges. Costco used to carry a brand of rice chips that were so dang delicious, crunchy as all get out, that Mr. Balancing Act and I could never resist them. We would dive into a bag and just keep on munching until  there was nothing but rice dust. Luckily our local Costco stopped stocking these devil chips. But when we were in Florida, there they were in the Sarasota Costco! And you can probably guess the rest of the story. Yes, we ate them (a version with black sesame seeds!) and I am still fighting to get rid of my vacation pounds.

Will power is a limited commodity. It is like every other kind of energy or strength which you possess. You can use it up! And over the course of a day, it tends to diminish. By the time evening rolls around, you may be physically, mentally, and/or emotionally drained. Your will power is probably at its lowest point. So stack the deck to support your goals. Plan ahead. Have a healthy snack waiting and a selection of herbal teas which you enjoy. Good luck!